Sign Up to Receive Email Action Alerts From Issa Exposed

In a surprising reversal, NOM seems to support civil union bill in New Hampshire

Marriage equality

By Jacob Combs

Yesterday, I wrote about a New Hampshire legislator’s unusual plan to repeal marriage equality in the state and replace it with civil unions, and it looks like things in the Granite State continue to defy expectations.  The National Organization for Marriage, one of the most anti-gay organizations in the country and a firm opponent of marriage equality for the last five years, has announced that it supports HB 437, the bill that would end marriage equality in the state and roll back the law to allow for civil unions.

Not surprisingly, NOM’s New Hampshire announcement includes an old trope the organization is fond of.  In its press release, NOM cites as a reason for supporting HB 437 the fact that marriage equality in New Hampshire was enacted legislatively and not by a popular vote and urges legislators to “let the voters have the final say.”  (Apparently, NOM hasn’t looked into the details of Rep. Bates’s amendment, which would not give the voters any ‘final say’ at all.)  And, of course, it is unwise to read too much into this decision and view it as a shift of policy for the organization.

Still, NOM’s announcement is noteworthy for two reasons.  To begin with, it marks the first and only time that the organization has ever indicated support for civil unions.  When a civil union bill was making its way through the Illinois legislature last year, NOM urged its members to send their lawmakers a letter that called civil unions “a direct threat to marriage.”  If the NOM-supported New Hampshire bill passes, civil unions will again be the law of the land in the state.

But perhaps more surprisingly, the New Hampshire repeal bill would allow gay and lesbian couples who have already wed to stay married.  Of course, this is more a recognition of how difficult it would be to annul legal marriages rather than an expression of support for couples that have already married. Nevertheless, it is incredible to see NOM supporting a piece of legislation that is in at least one small way pro-marriage equality.

What can we take away from NOM’s move in New Hampshire?  Probably not much.  NOM is sure to be out in force doing its best to oppose equal rights for gays and lesbians across the nation come November in states like Washington, Maryland, Maine and Minnesota, and in North Carolina this May.  Still, the very fact that NOM is being forced to change its tactics and take a position that would seem completely contradictory to its philosophy and past actions shows that the organization knows the ground of public opinion is shifting under its feet.


  • 1. RWG  |  March 20, 2012 at 9:12 am

    This is nothing more than a cheap political ploy to get marriage equality repealed in New Hampshire. NOM is not in favor of civil unions, they aren't giving up the fight and they certainly aren't ever going to accept that gay and lesbian Americans should have the same benefits, rights, privileges and immunities that straight couples take for granted. Were same-sex marriage to be repealed in New Hampshire, that very night NOM would begin a campaign to do away with civil unions as well. If Brian Brown's lips are moving, he's lying.

  • 2. ngblog  |  March 20, 2012 at 9:18 am

    Civil Unions don't work. This is the only reason NOM wants HB 437 passed.

  • 3. Jamie  |  March 20, 2012 at 9:19 am

    Yeah, the only reason they support civil unions is that they know it's the only way to take marriage away from gay people. There simply is no support in New Hampshire for yanking away these rights.

  • 4. Sagesse  |  March 20, 2012 at 9:24 am

    Watching with interest. How NOM chooses to spend their money and time will be an indication of how much of their 'big money' support has dried up.

  • 5. Marta  |  March 20, 2012 at 9:35 am

    In the spirit of shifting public opinion, a video that has invaded and taken over my brain. This song should be our movement's new anthem. The "Fidelity" video was moving, but not really a protest song and super hard to sing along to.

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="; frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    Back when I was young enough to know from where I came,
    I saw my love be spat upon and shouted down in shame.
    Well I hung my head and shed a tear, when I went to change my name,
    But his honor told me don't 'cha fear, because it always ends the same.

    It always ends the same, he said, always ends the same.
    Ah, remember dear this too shall pass, and it always ends the same.

    Well I was feeling so alone, when the congregation sang,
    Of Jesus Christ and Lucifer, and the price that I would pay.
    But the preacher told me not to fear, for they know not what they say,
    Yeah the history is on your side, and it always ends the same.

    It always ends the same, he said, always ends the same.
    Ah, remember dear this too shall pass, and it always ends the same…

  • 6. Marta  |  March 20, 2012 at 9:36 am

    Apparently my imbed script didn't work. The song is Televsion" by You Won't.

  • 7. Sheryl_Carver  |  March 20, 2012 at 9:37 am

    Have you seen their new ad? The picture clearly implies that bribery was used to "Force Same-Sex Marriage on New Hampshire." I wonder if there's any legal recourse, since they don't actually SAY "bribery," but the picture certainly does.

  • 8. Ann S.  |  March 20, 2012 at 9:51 am

    Interesting, Sheryl. And as usual NOM is reeking with hypocrisy.

  • 9. Sheryl_Carver  |  March 20, 2012 at 10:05 am

    You could have placed the period after "reeking," Ann. 😉

    Yes, the NOM we all know & do not love. Wish there was some way to do a version of "would you buy a used car from these folks?" in response. They are such a bunch of nasty liars!

  • 10. Sheryl_Carver  |  March 20, 2012 at 10:54 am

    The NOMbies have their own version of the 3 monkeys:

    Hear no evil (when it's said by NOM).
    See no evil (when it's written or displayed by NOM).
    Speak no evil (about NOM & its allies, but speak all the evil you want about LGBTs & their supporters).

  • 11. Larry  |  March 20, 2012 at 11:01 am

    This isn't at all surprising. Despite what they say, NOM just wants the lowest level of protections and rights available. If it's a choice between no recognition and marriage, they'll support no recognition. If it's a choice between no recognition and civil unions, they'll support no recognition. And if it's a choice between civil unions and marriage, they'll support civil unions.

  • 12. chris hogan  |  March 20, 2012 at 11:07 am

    Larry you hit the nail on the head. These people could care less if Joe and Peter down the street have a piece of paper that says, "Marriage" or not. What they have ALWAYS cared about is maintaining the public perception that society does not except homosexuality as normal, period.

  • 13. Phillip K  |  March 20, 2012 at 11:20 am

    I definitely agree with some of the other comments around here.

    If they were successful and it moved to civil unions, next step they'd be trying to get rid of those.

    Trying to figure out NOM seems a bit fruitless. If they'll lie to their donors and supporters, they'll lie to anyone.

  • 14. 415kathleenk  |  March 20, 2012 at 11:30 am

    this whole NH marriage repeal process is extremely interesting. That nitwit Bates ( and his henchpersons- NOM)- are struggling to get some sort of win on this issue- others are correct- this civil union bs is just a ploy

  • 15. Jamie  |  March 20, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    I have been wondering if there is any legal recourse against them in general. It seems that NOM has made a habit out of advertising using lies and distortion. Certainly there is some recourse available to the groups of people that are harmed by such nonsense. Why can't gay people sue them for slander and defamation?

  • 16. Mackenzie  |  March 20, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    Even if they pass this pathetic excuse of a bill. Gov Lynch will surely veto it. I do not recall the level of represenation in that states lower chamber, but I am hoping enough Republicans run from this bill to make it impossible for a veto override….if it even gets that far.

  • 17. Reformed  |  March 20, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    I am forwarding this comment I found by a regular poster on the NOM blog to every new hampshire legislator I can. I thing they have a right to know what is behind NOM's sudden support for civil unions.

    2. ResistSSA
    Posted March 20, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    Civil unions will be destroyed next, en route to re-closeting homosexual sex by the reversal of Lawrence v. Texas.

  • 18. Sheryl_Carver  |  March 20, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    Excellent, Reformed!

    Some members of the NH legislature may agree with NOM's strategy, but I'm hoping most will take a moment to really think about the real slippery slope they'll start down if they vote to repeal marriage equality.

  • 19. Rich  |  March 21, 2012 at 6:03 am

    Still waiting in Maine to find out who is funding NOM since it seems unlikely it is the largesse of individuals who donate. Just chatted, at a dinner party, with a man who works with Religious Coalitions in support of marriage equality. He claims to know that, in fact, it is the LDS Church that is the largest contributor to NOM. Interesting since NOM aligns closely with the Catholic Church…at least in print.

  • 20. Kate  |  March 21, 2012 at 6:20 am

    Strange bedfellows, all the way around. NOM clearly aligns with ANYONE who agrees with them. Where are the good ol' days when all these religious fundies hated each other????

Having technical problems? Visit our support page to report an issue!